How does the Jewish festival of Sukkot relate to spirituality in the harvest?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In pre-technological times, it was common to attribute the harvest to a god or goddess, or some other spiritual means. While farmers knew that they had to work hard, they also believed that their actions had a real-world effect on the harvest, and so took steps to live in accordance with their local religious beliefs. For Jews, the festival of Sukkot is the major harvest festival, and a time of thanksgiving for the last year and the coming year. Biblically, the festival is "The Feast of Booths," partially commemorating the Hebrews living in temporary dwellings during and after the Exodus. It also refers to temporary buildings made during the harvest so no time is lost in travel. When observing Sukkot, people build a symbolic temporary dwelling for prayer and ritual meals; most symbolism in Sukkot has to do with fruits and vegetables, such as the Four Species that are used in prayer. In modern times, Sukkot serves as a reminder of the hardships the Hebrews lived through in Biblical times, and of the privilege of modern abundance. Sukkot reminds the modern Jewish person that life was not always easy, and that their actions are a reflection of themselves and their community.


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